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If your holiday prerogative calls for a leisurely afternoon among friends over a bottle of French wine, a pot of steamed mussels, and a basket of fresh-baked bread to sop up all the sauce, you need not travel to the City of Lights to find it. Harkening back to the bustling bistros of Paris past, Café des Beaux-Arts cultivates a dining experience that is decidedly transportive. The indoor-outdoor restaurant sits at the heart of Palm Desert’s buzzy shopping boulevard, El Paseo, offering prime alfresco seating and people-watching. Inside, dark wood paneling, antiqued mirrors, and crimson booths are illuminated by the soft glow of glass pendant lamps. Owners Didier and Christina Bloch have infused the space with playful artwork and touches of retro French décor — the paintings are Christina’s handiwork, while the quirky sculptural objets d’art are all crafted by Didier. You’ll find locals gathered around the circular central bar, known as Le Bar, unwinding after a round of golf or a workday. Daily happy hour includes drink specials and an extensive small-bites menu, with live jazz Wednesday nights during season. The menu focuses on French fare, breakfast until dessert, from quiche Lorraine and stuffed crepes to coq au vin and duckling à l’orange to artisan cheese plates and profiteroles. One bite and your taste buds will be singing. Oh là là!
Experience a touch of Europe nestled in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. Pomme Frite offers an authentic European ambiance that will transport you to the streets of Brussels where many cafés are located. This quaint and cozy bistro features Belgian and French specialties moderately priced. Their Pacific Sole Fillets “Grenobloise” are featured with lemon-butter sauce with capers, sautéed spinach, and mashed potatoes. For mussel lovers, they prepare mussels 12 different ways.